Corporate Crime Update – Winter 2019

Welcome to the Winter 2019 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. Our update now covers a number of jurisdictions.

For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below. Below we provide a brief overview of what is covered in each update.

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India’s new anti-corruption law targets bribe-givers and establishes corporate liability offence modelled on the UK Bribery Act

India’s long-awaited Amended Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 came into force on 26 July. Originally proposed in 2013, the amendments introduce a new regime and highlight the emerging focus in Asia on supply-side bribery and corporate liability. Companies and businesses operating in India should familiarise themselves with the new provisions and ensure that they implement adequate compliance procedures.

Please click here for our e-bulletin which summarises the main amendments relevant to corporates.

 

Kyle Wombolt
Kyle Wombolt
Head of Global Corporate Crime & Investigations Practice, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4005
Robert Hunt
Robert Hunt
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4128
Pamela Kiesselbach
Pamela Kiesselbach
Senior Consultant, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4032
Christine Cuthbert
Christine Cuthbert
Senior Associate, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4124

Recent developments in Scottish and English bribery enforcement

On 5 April 2016, The Scottish Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ("COPFS") announced the latest resolution of a Bribery Act enforcement action against the Glasgow-based logistics company, Braid Logistics (UK) Limited. Braid agreed to pay £2.2 million pursuant to a Civil Recovery Order and accepted responsibility for contravention of sections 1 and 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 (section 7 being the so-called 'corporate offence' of 'failure to prevent' bribery).

This is the latest development in an exciting few months in anti-corruption enforcement. Earlier this year, in two eagerly anticipated judgments, the Court applied for the first time in a contested corporate case the Sentencing Council's 2014 Definitive Guideline: Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences (the "Guideline"), and sentenced a company following a successful prosecution under section 7 of the Bribery Act. These two cases, Smith & Ouzman Limited and Sweett Group Plc, represent the first steps in building a body of much-needed experience of the Court's approach to the Guideline, following the first DPA last year. We provide below an overview of the Braid, Smith & Ouzman and Sweett Group cases, and explain how the penalties imposed on the companies were determined.

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Divisional Court rules that SFO procedure for isolating privileged material is lawful

The handling of material which is potentially subject to legal professional privilege is an important and often contentious matter in the investigations context.  In a recent decision which addresses the practical aspects of evidence handling, the  Divisional Court dismissed a claim that the SFO was under a duty to use independent third party IT staff to apply search terms to material in its possession in order to identify which material may be subject to legal professional privilege ("LPP").   The Court ruled that the SFO’s policy (as set out in its Operational Handbook), whereby search terms are applied by the SFO before any responsive material is then reviewed by independent counsel, was lawful.

The case (R (McKenzie) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office [2016] EWHC 102 (Admin)) also has some read-across value for the approach adopted by other investigation agencies to potentially privileged material.  In this e-bulletin we summarise the court's ruling and its implications.

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Three convicted in £23m Green biofuel trial

Three individuals have been convicted following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the promotion of unregulated pension and investment products based on green biofuel by Sustainable Growth Group (‘SGG’) including its subsidiary companies, Sustainable AgroEnergy plc (‘SAE’) and Sustainable Wealth (UK) Investments Ltd (‘SWI’).  The investments were sold to UK investors primarily via self-invested pension plans (SIPPS).  The charges and convictions against two of the individuals under the Bribery Act 2010 were the first secured by the SFO since the Act came into force in 2011. Other individuals have been convicted of breaching the Bribery Act in separate cases brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.  Sentences in the case were handed down on 8 December 2014 in Southwark Crown Court: Continue reading

Corporate Crime Update – October 2014

Welcome to the October 2014 edition of our corporate crime update – our round-up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. Our update now covers a number of jurisdictions. For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below. Below we provide a brief overview of what is covered in each update. Continue reading